Last Friday evening I crossed a couple of items off my to-do list in one hit - eating dosa for the first time and purchasing vegan takeaway food from my local suburb. I've been hankering to try dosas ever since reading about them on blogs and have considered attempting to make my own yet I thought it would be a good idea to try the real deal first.
We have lived in Clayton for almost 10 years and haven’t purchased takeaway food or dined at local restaurants for the past three years. Our more recent eating out experiences usually involve travelling to another suburb to eat at a restaurant we know has a variety of good vegan options. Clayton is home to several Indian restaurants as well as Chinese, Malaysian, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian and Japanese. In the midst of searching for the closest place to buy dosa, I was delighted to discover that Punjab cafe, one of our local Indian eateries, listed a variety of dosas on their menu. The man wasn't entirely keen on the sound of them and it took a couple of weeks of not-so-subtle hints for him to come around to the idea.
Punjab cafe is reminiscent of the other Indian eateries around Clayton, the decor is cheap and minimal, the clientele is mainly of Indian origin and the food is fairly inexpensive. After speaking with the waiter and chef to inform them of our dietary requirements we ordered a couple of masala dosas ($7.50 each), bindhi masala (okra curry - $7.50) and garlic naan ($2 each). I've been under the impression that naan dough usually contains yoghurt (as most recipes I've seen include it) but we were assured that there would be no yoghurt or other dairy products in the naan and that it could be topped with vegetable oil and garlic.
The man succumbed to the gorgeous aroma of garlic naan during our trip home, tearing off a few pieces to keep him satisfied until we could get stuck into the rest of the food. The masala dosa was as wonderful as I imagined it would be – a thin crispy pancake made with a fermented lentil and rice batter filled with spiced potatoes, accompanied by a tangy dal. I was expecting some chutneys to be included with our meal as I think they are usually served with dosas, perhaps they forgot to include them? The bindhi masalas I've eaten in the past have been served in a sauce/gravy so I was little surprised to find that this version was a dry curry. We ordered it to be hot and were pleased that it delivered on spiciness.
My first dosa experience was thoroughly enjoyable and has made me eager to try more dosas at other Indian restaurants for comparative purposes. I would also like have a go at making dosas at home although they will need to be a miniature versions as I don't own a frying pan large enough to make dosas bigger than our dinner plates!
143 Carinish Road, Clayton9544 4218